(Note: I had saved this, and for some reason it lost the format that I had saved it with, so I tried to fix most of it, but when i publish it, it changes back to some other format...sorry!)
May 12, 2009
Final Paper- Feminism
What does Feminism mean to me? My own current definition of feminism is the idea that not
only are women equals in every sense of the word, but all humans are
equal as well. I think that Feminism means fighting for equality and destroying sexism.
Feminism to me, is going to a small town in India, and fighting for the rights of the
young children who are being sold into sex slavery. Feminism is going to a country in Africa and
teaching young girls about condoms. Feminism is whatever I want it to be. In the video we
watched in class where it asked a lot of different people what their idea of feminism was, that is
the reality of feminism, feminism can morph into many different definitions. The wikipedia
definition is: Feminism is the idea that women should have political, social, sexual, intellectual
and economic rights equal to those of men.
How the world views Feminism is very different depending on where you go.
In Arab countries, feminism can be a small thing, such as writing a book, or speaking out
against female circumcision. In "Understanding the other sister: The case of Arab feminism"
Susan Muaddi Darraj discusses the current state of feminism in most Arab countries.
One story she tells is of a writer, and a noted Arab feminist, where she received a lawsuit against her
demanding her and her husband get a divorce because of some comments
she made earlier. The Egyptian lawsuit was because the comments she had made in a earlier
interview were said to have been apostasy, which is the renunciation of
Islam. She fought this lawsuit, and was able to keep her thirty-seven year marriage. In Rwanda,
feminism is just beginning to bear its head in the community. After the 1994 genocide of millions,
and the rape of thousands of women, it left the country completely raw and bare. Many women
became the head of households after the massacre, and were forced to provide for their families.
The women have bonded together, not to fight for equal pay, or pregnancy leave, but for basic
human rights, which are often denied to people in third world countries. Not just third world
countries, but also countries were habits, like the treatment of women are embedded into the
daily lives of the people. Western feminists often forget that we have it good, to a certain
extent. Eastern women have so many advantages compared to the women in the rest of the world. We're
allowed to vote, we don't have to undergo female circumcision, we can go to school, etc. Those
are just the basics. These basics should be provided to every person.
The history of feminism started with what many would call the first wave. "The F word" by
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner discusses the first wave in great detail. The women's suffrage
movement was the first push for equality for women, and this battle was fought long and hard.
In the movie "Iron Clawed Angles" it portrayed the fight for equality, a little over dramatic, but
it still showed the journey that many women had to take. The second wave of feminism began in
the 60's when women wanted to become more than just a stay at home mom. The battle for
equal pay began, that battle is still going on to this day. Following the second wave was the third
wave in feminism, this began around the late 1980's and continues to this day. The third wave
started in response to the slack in change, its almost as if we reach a certain point, and then stop
striving for anything more. Feminism is still alive and well.
I am a feminist. I am a feminist because I believe that everyone deserves a equal shot.
No matter, who you are or what you believe, there are certain rights, that should not be denied
to anyone. More than a feminist, I believe I am a humanist.
The Feminism video (we watched in class)
Iron Clawed Angles (HBO film)
The F word by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
"Understanding the other sister: The case of Arab feminism" by Susan Muaddi Darraj